South to Albany WA, Back to Perth & Fremantle … and Venezia for Dinner

On Sunday afternoon, we headed south to Albany on the southern coast of Western Australia, a 4 and a half hour trip, rain intermittently all the way down. We were staying at the home of Jack B., age 91, father of former parishioners of Fr. Kerry in Caringbah, Dot & John.

The Perth-Albany Highway, a straight shot through southwestern Western Australia, quite a feat in our Toyota Camry.

Friends of Dot and John own Jingalla Wineries in Porongurup. I liked the Cabrogue particularly, a blend of Cabernet and Rose. We had lunch at the winery with a childhood friend of Dot’s, Shelly and her sister Bev. A nice cauliflower soup, fresh multigrain bread and great wine.

Bev, Fr. Kerry, John, Sandra, Jack B., Dot and Shelly. Yours truly was behind the camera.

Albany’s ANZAC memorial atop Mount Clarence.

Dot and John took us to the Albany Wind Farm, built in 2001 with 12 turbines. They are planning to put 6 more up. From their website: “In an average year the wind farm produces about 77,000,000 units of electricity, though this does vary depending on how windy the year is. In 2001, this amount of energy was equivalent to about 75% of the City of Albany’s electricity requirements and enough to supply about 15,000 average homes.”

On Tuesday, we headed back up the coast toward Bunbury and Perth. It was raining while we were there. I came up with my Western Australia Visit Principle: we were guaranteed dry days only when we were traveling. The rest of the time, it rained buckets.

Wednesday morning after breakfast, we drove up from Bunbury back to Perth. We booked our hotel room and headed out to Fremantle. Once there, we walked around the Central Business District and saw signs for the Fremantle Prison. Hmmm. Intrigued, we took the tour.

Inside the prison walls, razor wire all around. The prison was in continuous use from its completion in 1859 until 1991, built entirely by convicts sent from the UK. In 1992 it was opened to the public as a historic site.

Inside the cell block, the suicide net was put in place to prevent death by gravity (either self-propelled or otherwise). But it took some 20 or so years from the realization of the building’s inherent hazard before the net was first installed. Seems no one was in a hurry to prevent such “accidents.”

Solitary confinement at the Fremantle Prison. The room was something like 3×6 ft. After 10 minutes in there, I wouldn’t know what to do without wireless internet service.

Fremantle’s town hall building.

Garlic bread at the Venezia Italian Restaurant. I had the Garganelli ai Gamberi, pasta with king prawns in a creamy vodka sauce. Sorry, I didn’t remember to take a picture. And I had the tiramisu again. The waiter poured us some Grappa on the house. I’m not much of an alcohol drinker. Needless to say, I lost the lingering taste of dessert, thanks to the after-dinner drink. You don’t want to know what I thought of it.

After dinner, we walked around the block and found this on the ground in front of a statue of Admiral James Stirling, first governor of Western Australia. We couldn’t find anything on the naming of Perth. All the more surprising was that the city was founded by the felling of a tree … or shall we say, to commemorate the founding of the city, a tree was cut down. It seems completely ludicrous to think what I first thought, which you may have first thought … so don’t think it.

Tomorrow, Thursday, we fly back to Sydney.